Sketchy budget details leave farmers unsure
Unimpressed ... Mark Horan said details in the budget were "very sketchy" for family-run farms. Photo: Richard Briggs
Farmer Mark Horan says the federal budget is "fairly beige for farmers" with little new spending and disappointing cuts in some programs, such as weed removal.
"There is actually very little new money, except for about $379 million for a new base quarantine entry point," said Mr Horan, whose family operates Jinglemoney, a 486 hectare beef cattle farm at Bombay, about 17 kilometres south-east of Braidwood.
"That is a good commitment for biosecurity, but that's really the only standout thing."
He says it's good the government has extended funding for the Caring for our Country' program, worth an estimated $2.2 billion over five years.
But the removal of funding for programs such as FarmReady, national weeds and the productivity program, is "quite disappointing".
"It's a huge cost to Mr and Mrs Joe Average farmer to try and control weeds," Mr Horan says.
With a general return to normal seasonal conditions across Australia and a reduction in financial help for drought, rural assistance will fall by nearly two-thirds to $103 million in 2012-13.
But rural assistance will increase by nearly 50 per cent to $154 million in 2013-14, driven by the introduction of the carbon farming futures program, which the budget said was a grants scheme "designed to encourage the farming industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the land".
Mr Horan said details on this program were "very sketchy" for family-run farms.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said in the budget lock-up that agriculture was one of several sectors that would benefit as Asia's emerging economies become richer.